Design of Starbucks cup not religious persecution

by: SKYLER McCLESKY/Staff Writer

Persecution can be defined as hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race, political, or religious beliefs.

There are Christians around the world being persecuted right now. Every month, 322 Christians, on average, are killed for their faith and 772 acts of violence are committed against Christians because of their beliefs. The acts of violence include, but are not limited to, physical abuse, rape, beating, and false imprisonment.

That is persecution, and persecution is real. It happens every day. However, it is not happening in the hands of Starbucks and their plain red cups.

Lately, there has been a story going around on social media about how the new Starbucks holiday cups are an intentional movement to take “Christ” out of Christmas. Now Christians are saying this act is persecution against them.

Starbucks is a global corporation, run by a CEO, with more than 200,000 employees, who work in different countries. The people who comprise the corporation can be religious. However, the corporation, in and of it self, is not.

Why should Starbucks honor one faith above another? Why should the cups say ‘Merry Christmas’? What about Hanukkah or Kwanzaa? These holidays are just as important to the people who celebrate it as Christmas is to Christians. Why would people think that a globally-recognized corporation would celebrate one holiday over another?

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Starbucks holiday cups made their debute in 1997, 18 years ago. Eighteen different cup designs, and the most plain one is the one causing the most uproar. Cups in the past have had snowflakes, snowmen, and other symbols more affiliated with winter than Christmas.

So why this year? Why pick this fight now? It’s not like Starbucks holiday cups in years past have had the nativity scene, or Merry Christmas, plastered all over it. So my question is: why now? Well, on Nov. 5, Joshua Feuerstein, a social media evangelist, posted a video on his Facebook page that went viral. In his video, he says that Starbucks wants to take Christ and Christmas off their cups. However, instead of boycotting Starbucks, he wanted to start a movement. He encouraged all Christians to go to Starbucks, and when they place an order and they ask your name, say your name is “Merry Christmas” so they are forced to write it on your cup.

“So guess what, Starbucks? I tricked you into putting Merry Christmas on your cup,” Feuerstein said in his video. His video has been viewed about 12 million times, and almost 500,000 people have shared it.

On Nov. 8, just three days after the video was posted, Starbucks released a statement explaining the design of this year’s cup.

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“This year’s design is another way Starbucks is inviting customers to create their own stories with a red cup that mimics a blank canvas.”

What people need to realize is that we have  larger problems on our hands, such as terrorism, human trafficking, world hunger, ISIS, and many others. Millions of people don’t know the name of Jesus. Let’s focus our time and energy on something that matters.

So sip on your caramel macchiato in your plain red cup and be thankful that you have the freedom to carry your Bible into Starbucks and read it in public. There are some countries that don’t have that freedom, while we are worried about a silly red cup.

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